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Elton John's secret comes out

Was one of Elton John's greatest hits inspired by Frank Zappa?
Was one of Elton John's greatest hits inspired by Frank Zappa?
Alternate Cover: MCA Records

Record single by Elton John: "Benny and the Jets" (1974)


Here’s why this song should be in your collection!

In 1974, a secret about Elton John finally became revealed. “Bennie and The Jets” showed that R&B fans made up a huge portion of Elton John’s audience.

Reginald Kenneth Dwight had been quietly building an R&B fan base since his release of “Border Song,” a gospel-tinged ballad that enjoyed broader exposure after it was covered by Aretha Franklin. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) was certainly a rock album. But “Benny and The Jets” broke the Top Ten in many USA and Canadian R&B radio markets, and John would go on to perform it on Soul Train. Not bad for a song that his band thought was so odd they didn’t want it released as a single!

The song has inspired dozens of cover versions and samples. Its title has inspired lots of puns and wordplays in sports and politics as well as music.

Was there ever any creative connection between “Benny and the Jets” and Ruben and the Jets, the concept album and band produced by Frank Zappa in 1972? Elton John has never discussed it; Zappa died in 1993.

This song is available on various albums in CD and MP3 format from major vendors. Please consider purchasing it from a local independent record store.

Here’s an interesting fact!

Another hit song from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has achieved legendary status. “Candle in the Wind” started out as a tribute to a movie star and became an anthem to a princess.